You can see my YouTube of this ride here
A few times recently I’ve got ready to ride but ended up not going anywhere because I couldn’t decide on which trail to ride, which is very annoying! I don’t know why I do this! Perhaps I should get some lights so it opens up going to trails that are open later.
Early last Saturday morning I got ready to ride but couldn’t decide where to go. The indecision was compounded by the fact that the UK weather forecast was very rainy, and the later it got the worse the rain was and more of the UK was going to be wet. I don’t like riding in the wet if I don’t have to.
I’d been messaging my mate Paul, who also wanted to ride, suggesting Woburn, Aston Hill, Stile Cop and Cannock Chase, but the later it got the more the northern trails would have been wet too. So, we finally decided on Woburn, which is around a 70 minute drive away.
The Woburn biking trails shares two locations with horses and hikers. There is the Aspley Woods trails which is privately owned but managed by the Greensand trust, as is the other area, Rushmere Park, but that is owned by the council.
You can find info on the Aspley Wood trails here
I hurriedly bought three day passes online for me, Paul and Mishy. It’s only a fiver each for the day, not a bad way to sort out the payment, except they ask for too many details for each rider, such as name, address, phone number, email address, this makes it a bit onerous when buying three!
We’d decided to ride the Longslade red trail in Aspley Woods. Arriving at the Longslade Lane car park at around 2pm.
The trail markers are waist height wooden posts with red painted tops, sometimes there’s double posts, sometimes single, alas they are not consistently on the junctions so you have to guess which way the trail goes. For the first two hours or so, with asking other bikers and hikers, we managed to sort of stay on the trail, but it was a bit tiresome!
The trail itself is very up and down and is also tight and twisty, with this combination and it being my first time riding it I didn’t get up much speed. No matter, this ride wasn’t about going to the max, more about riding with friends. And for that it was quite pleasant. There was one or two fun downs, but no epic descent!
At times you’ll find yourself riding singletrack through the bracken, at others zig-zagging singletrack tightly through the trees. Occasionally there’s a bit of fire road to ride.
After the first couple of hours we lost the trail, so decided to head over to the jump area, as we’d picked up the signposts for it. The jump area has a proper dirt jump park and many quite short downhill runs, all with jumps, quite often gap jumps. Some of the jumps are huge!
We had a couple of runs on the DT trail, which consists of a couple of berms, a small gap jump and a table top jump. I actually quite enjoyed it, and will go back, as it’s an ideal small gap jump to practice on.
We only stopped in the jump area for ten minutes or so, then tried to find our way back to the car park, this was quite funny, as even with GPS we couldn’t work out our way back, and continually kept getting further away from it, looking at the GPS! Strangely there are signs pointing back to the car park but we, for some reason, chose to ignore them??!!! Again we had to ask others which way to get back, clearly none of us had a good sense of direction!
Arriving back at the car park at around 6pm we had something to eat and I got my camping stove out and we had a cup of tea before heading off home.
It was nice to ride with friends, but I prefer to ride alone, as I’m slow feel awkward. Also I like to take time to chill in a forest, which isn't everyone's cup of tea. If we hadn’t got lost so often I guess there’d have been more time to enjoy the scenery.
It isn’t the most beautiful of woodland, or the best signposted, but on reflection I did enjoy it, and shall return. In fact, the next day another friend asked if I wanted to ride the exact same trail, I was going to but changed my mind at the last minute as I needed to go and upgrade my phone as the camera had buggered whilst at Woburn.
If you compare Aspley Woods to say forestry commission run sites, it has a long way to go. There are no facilities, except for car parks. Not that there is any pretence that Woburn is anything like that. I guess you ride what is local, when you can, and Woburn is local’ish and I shall return!